Skip to comments.Americans are playing poker online? Oh, the humanity!
Posted on 10/13/2006 5:03:36 PM PDT by KDD
EDITORIAL: Internet gambling 'ban'
Americans are playing poker online? Oh, the humanity!
Of the myriad policy crises churning on the horizon -- entitlement insolvency, illegal immigration and runaway federal spending among them -- congressional Republicans chose to spend the little political capital they have left on an Internet gambling ban.
With brick-and-mortar casinos in nearly every state and card games breaking into network television, millions of moralists found it unbearable that Americans were wagering about $6 billion per year on the Web. That their neighbors might be playing poker or placing sports bets from the comfort of their desk chairs demanded federal intervention. "Ban it!" they cried. "Misguided citizens will lose their homes! Their children will starve! Families will be destroyed!"
Never mind the folly of legislating leisure. (That Prohibition thing was a rousing success, wasn't it? And certainly, no sports wagering takes place outside of Nevada.) Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was determined to please his base with a new law before November's election, no matter how flawed or misguided it might be.
The cause was so preposterous it couldn't win passage as a stand-alone bill. Sen. Frist first tried to attach the Internet gambling ban to a defense appropriations bill. No luck. So he slipped it into port security legislation that passed the House and Senate early Saturday. A Bush administration official indicated the president plans to sign the bill into law.
And so no children will be forced into homelessness, their parents now prohibited from using personal checks, credit cards or electronic fund transfers to pay off Internet bets placed with online casinos and sports books. The costly, irresistible temptation of playing games of chance on personal computers has been eradicated. Right?
Wrong. Not only did Sen. Frist have to lard up the ports bill to win passage for his pet project, he included enough exemptions to rival the IRS tax code.
The bill permits Web-based betting on horse racing and for state lotteries. It also allows state-licensed casinos, once authorized within their jurisdiction, to construct Web sites with online poker and casino-style gaming. And these casinos would be allowed to provide links to other states and countries where gambling is legal.
So rather than deliver a "ban," Sen. Frist merely cut off the American market from online gambling sites based in Britain and the Caribbean. Like most heavy-handed regulations, this "ban" is really just thinly veiled protectionism.
"In order to get this bill passed, they (Republicans) sold their souls. They gave so many exceptions that it's now a wide-open area," attorney Tony Cabot, editor of the Internet Gambling Report and co-editor of the Gaming Law Review, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
This Internet gambling "ban" is nothing close to a ban at all -- and that's a good thing. It's foolish to think the Internet gambling genie can be stuffed back into its bottle. Technology is driving the evolution of the gaming industry, so it makes perfect sense that regulated American companies should be allowed to conduct business with their millions of customers through the World Wide Web.
The bill could bring some short-term pain to MGM Mirage and Harrah's Entertainment, which use Internet poker sites to place some entrants in their own poker tournaments. But they'll figure out how to rebuild their qualification networks. The opportunities now available to Nevada gaming companies are staggering in their scope.
"The casino lobbyists in Washington, D.C., thought this was a pretty good deal. It's actually better than that," Mr. Cabot said. "It really opens up the field. It knocks out the offshore companies, and leaves the legal licensees open to take their positions."
It remains to be seen, however, whether the American conservatives who demanded this legislation will think it's a good deal. More likely, they'll realize sometime soon that they've been taken by a sucker bet.
There you have it folks.
I'm religious, I'm rightwing, but this is an outrageously stupid decision.
What drives me nuts is that because of this, that subsection gets painted as all of the religous right. Truth be told they don't have much of a following, they are just really loud.
I think we should administer a country wide IQ test and pass laws to protect all the stupid people from themselves.
Looks like onlisne poker is far from dead only it won't be offshore now. It will come out of websites of Casino Tribes and casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City
Yes. In every single game but one. Poker. There is no house edge in poker. For you do not play against the house. You play against the other players. The house makes its money with the rake in cash games and with a small fee attached to the tournament buy in for tournaments.
Guess you think that unless the govt makes every person become a born again Christian it should not have the authority to enforce moral laws against murder, stealing etc?
I don't play at PartyPoker, but the two sites I do play at have locked me out of real money play. So it isn't just party poker.
You mean like state lotteries?
The government doesn't mind when those who can afford it least go broke when the money they gamble goes to the government.
This WILL cost Republicans everywhere votes they can't afford. I play both online and brick-and-mortar, and as you say this is being laid, universally, at Republican's feet.
A LOT of folks who say they don't usually vote are vowing to vote this time, on this one issue. The poker radio shows are full of it, the talk around live tables is full of it...
This was a gift by Frist to the evangelicals to boost his Presidential bid, and could cost House seats where they are close.
what sites are those?
FullTilt, Doyles, PokerStars, Bugsy's, Bodog. I know these are allowing US players.
I know the online money transfer site Firepay has opted out but Neteller is still working.
You're right. Good point.
Alito and Roberts come to mind.
I was able to play last night, but not tonight.
I wish they would pander more.
This online gambling bill has nothing to do with the "religious right".
what say you on post #51
yeah, a lot of that voting won't materialize. but I know of no one who is switching to voting Republican because of this, so there can only be net loss.
I'm not the biggest fan of Republicans, and I'll never vote Dim, but this is a dumb move.
unfortunately, the only pandering they are doing is Hispandering.
sorry to hear that
I cant play at Party, and I loved feasting on the fish there. Most of the other sites are a little tougher to beat.